I recently had lunch with a dear friend who's healthy, beautiful, and in her 70's (please God can I be this young lady when I grow up???) And she shared with me that the only thing she believes is holding her back from optimum health is the fact that she simply doesn't like to exercise. (She's a fellow T’ai Chi Chih Instructor so perhaps that's why she's so healthy in spite of her lack of physical activity but that's a whole other blog!!!)
But back to my thoughts on her comment. Anyone who's ever spent any time with me knows that one of my mantras (things I say literally ALL the time) is:
"The only exercise you'll ever stick to is the one that you like, so all you have to do is find the exercise you like!"
But for people like my dear friend who, in her 70's, has still never found the exercise she likes, I should explain that that mantra also includes the notion of finding something that makes you feel noticeably better (either physically or even just emotionally) when you're done...for many people that's their primary and sometimes only motivation to exercise (and that's OK!!!) Furthermore, another of my frequently uttered mantras is:
“It takes a month to make or break a habit no matter how horrible…why do you think rehabs are 28 days long???”
Of course a month feels like a pretty big chunk of time when you're in the middle of it but when compared to the span of your life it's actually just a millisecond. The trick, therefore, is simply sticking with anything for just 1 month. And in terms of exercise I'm not even asking you to exercise EVERY DAY for a month: I always recommend 20-60 minutes of strength training 2-3 times a week plus 20-60 minutes of aerobic activity 3 or more days a week. But even if the best you can do that first month is exercise 4 times a week you’ll probably still be able to distinguish the difference between how you feel on the days you do exercise vs the days you don’t.
Bottom line: all I'm asking is that you pick some sort of movement that makes you feel better when you're finished and do it consistently for a month...if at the end of the month you notice that it clearly has improved the quality of your life, most likely you'll be a regular exerciser from that day on. Pretty simple, huh? Think about it: in the end, aren’t most things that impact our lives profoundly pretty simple? Nuff said.
Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC
HCC Lifestyle Coach